Dalrymple loved his dog this side of idolatry

忠犬ハチ公 — Hachikō the faithful hound (1923-35)

Of course Dalrymple anthropomorphised his late dog. His dog was Dalrymple’s companion, Dalrymple was never lonely or unhappy in his dog’s company, Dalrymple loved his dog and believed that his dog loved him.

Dalrymple’s dog

  • had his moods and he understood Dalrymple’s
  • went to sleep when Dalrymple slept
  • hated it when Dalrymple left him
  • was a dog of taste inasmuch as he far preferred human food to the slop normally served up to dogs
  • was playful but knew when to be serious

Dalrymple

didn’t mind the vet’s fees in the least; on the contrary, I was pleased to pay them, I was pleased rather than angry or disdainful when I was recorded as his father in the vet’s records, and I certainly didn’t regard myself as his owner—our relationship was far too equal for that. In fact, our relationship was so perfect that I never considered what kind of relationship it was.

Dalrymple’s dog was

exceptional, not to say unprecedented: intelligent, expressive, gifted. I draw no general or universally valid conclusions from his existence, any more than I would from that of Leonardo da Vinci.

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